Lego Marvel Super Heroes is rocking up to the Switch party a little on the late side. While the arrival of this game is far from stylishly prompt, it is, nevertheless, extraordinarily welcome. Originally Lego Marvel Super Heroes launched in 2013 for PS3, Xbox 360, WiiU, PS4, Xbox One and PC, making this a port of an eight-year-old, much loved, game. With the games phenomenal sequel, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, already on Nintendo’s handheld since 2017, this is definitely a case of better late than never.
Galactus is on the way to Earth, and Doctor Doom plans to stop him with the Doctor Doom Doom Ray of Doom because he can’t take over a planet that’s been scarfed down like the last doughnut in a copshop. In true comic book fashion, it’s time for the heroes of the Marvel universe to Assemble and put a stop to these shenanigans and make sure the Earth doesn’t become anyone’s breakfast burrito.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes – and its sequel – are love letters to Marvel comics enduring characters. The games encompass the comics diverse history and storylines with that special, humorous Lego style that have made the Lego games so eminently playable despite not much evolution to the brick-breaking and building formula.
The developer’s affection for the source material shines through in just about every aspect of the game. From the locations themselves which will take you from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and beyond, the care and attention to detail put into the locations – which mine both the comic versions and MCU take on them respectively – is a comic fan’s dream come true. It doesn’t stop there though, for Traveller’s Tales have put even more attention on the characters who sport their original comic book costumes and updated versions. Character animation, both in cutscenes and in idle animations are a delight. Leave them alone long enough and The Hulk will roar and bash his chest while Iron Man will dance the Robot. It’s all extraordinarily charming in that way that the Lego games have mastered for their little yellow bricks.
The open-world of New York, which you will get to run around in after about three missions, is full of things to do, gold bricks to collect and sidequests and side missions to complete. There are plenty of extra characters to collect as well – over 150 in fact – usually by using a character with a specific power related to said unlockable one. Such as using Spider-Man’s web yanking ability to unlock Black Cat.
The side missions are extra missions scattered across NY for you to complete and usually have some connection to the main campaign, such as using a captured Doc Ock to clean up the Daily Bugle after it gets trashed during an earlier level. Sidequests fair less well, however, as they usually fetch and return quests or combat-related. While the actual activity gets repetitive, it’s worth doing them for the gold bricks you’ll earn and the writing that goes along with them. And if you’re looking to test your skills, there are plenty of races scattered across the island of Manhattan to take part in.
By now we should all know the basics of how the Lego games work. You traverse a set of levels, fighting enemies that explode into Lego parts, scattering Studs – the game’s currency – while smashing other Lego objects for more Studs or to use their parts to build something else. The levels culminate in a boss fight against an iconic Marvel villain that requires some light strategy to make vulnerable before they can be punched in the face with the fists of avenging justice. It’s all rather simple and rarely challenging but it’s also incredibly fun. The Lego formula has remained the same as long as it has for a very good reason.
Completing a level opens it up for Free Play as there are plenty of things to be smashed that requires a specific power you don’t have access to until you’ve unlocked enough characters and the ability to take any one of them into a mission with you. The Side Missions in the open world also require you to complete them once to open up the Free Play version for those very same reasons.
As an eight-year-old game, Lego Marvel Super Heroes doesn’t tax the Switch’s hardware at all. Regardless of how much is going on onscreen at once, and there’s quite a bit with all the Lego bits exploding all over the place, the game runs superbly with not a single performance drop at all. Visually the game is quite gorgeous on The Switch Lite’s little screen. The visuals are crisp and clean and look as though the game had been made today rather than in 2013. Being able to play it on the go with perfect performance makes this now my preferred method of experiencing the game.
With its humorous writing, addictive gameplay and superb visuals, Lego Marvel Super Heroes on the Switch is a perfect port of a fantastic game. It’s easily one of the best ensemble superhero games ever made and a whole bunch of pint-sized super fun.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Macintosh operating systems, Classic Mac OS
Developers: Feral Interactive, TT Games, Traveller’s Tales
Publishers: Feral Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
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